Few would accuse the Anaheim Ducks of rolling over and giving up after falling behind 2-0 in Game 7. It just turned out that such a cushion was all the Nashville Predators needed to win 2-1.
Anaheim absolutely dominated the final 40 minutes of Game 7, whether you chalk it up to the Ducks turning up the heat or the Predators “sitting on a lead.”
One thing you cannot debate: Pekka Rinne played fantastic hockey, maybe the best playoff work of his career (in his first-ever Game 7).
The Ducks were insanely close to tying this one, pressing more and more in the third period, yet they couldn’t do enough. Time will tell if this costs Bruce Boudreau his job, especially since Anaheim made some gaffes they might regret over the summer.
Ryan Getzlaf made an enormous blunder in taking a late penalty, and the Predators drained some of the clock before the whistle blew. It was, in a way, symbolic of the tiny difference between the two teams. Nashville may have just been a slight bit smarter.
Again, though, it cannot be overstated just how close the Ducks came at times.
Close won’t get the Ducks to the second round, and it might not take the heat off of Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Boudreau.
One cannot help but wonder if this is it for Boudreau, whether it’s fair or not.
(Well, if this is it for Boudreau in Anaheim … many believe that he’d barely spend a moment unemployed just like the last time he was fired following postseason disappointments.)
Ultimately, the Predators move on to an intriguing matchup vs. the San Jose Sharks while the Ducks end another season with an empty feeling in their stomachs.